IT Support Contracts: Which is Right For Your Business?
All businesses need IT support. That’s as certain in life as death and taxes. Whether a business is large enough to employ their own in-house IT department, or small enough that they need to outsource support to an IT company like Jaydien, all businesses need access to reliable IT support.
So your business isn’t large enough to justify having a dedicated IT department? That’s alright, most businesses aren’t. In fact, we think it’s more than alright, because that’s where we come in!
Our expert technicians provide dedicated IT support for businesses of all shapes and sizes. From single-person, home office operations and corporations with dozens of employees to basic hardware repair and complex network infrastructure design, implementation, and management, if your business needs IT support, we’re here to help!
But getting the help you need isn’t always as easy as reaching out to a local, reputable IT support company. Most MSPs (Managed Services Providers) offer a variety of different contracts and support service agreements designed to address the needs and wants of all businesses.
In this post we’ll explore different types of contract-based IT support typically offered by MSPs like us, and see if we can narrow down which would work best for your business.
But you may be unfamiliar with outsourced or managed IT services altogether. So let’s start there.
What Does Contract-Based IT Support Mean?
Contract-Based IT Support, Outsourced IT or managed IT services, is the practice of hiring a third-party business to act as your dedicated IT department or to supplement your in-house IT department.
There are a number of advantages to outsourcing service, especially when it comes to IT.
Outsourced IT service providers work with companies of all sizes, across virtually all industries. As a result, they typically have a wider range of knowledge than the average IT specialist. If your business has an IT project it needs done but your team is lacking the expertise, outsourcing instead of hiring another specialist can save you a lot of money in the long-run.
There is also just a huge number of IT services a business may need or could find useful, so even if you do have an in-house IT department filled with specialists, you may still want to consider outsourced services.
Here are just a few examples:
- Infrastructure and Hardware Maintenance as a Service (HaaS)
- Backup & Disaster Recovery as a Service (BaaS)
- Cloud or Hosted Services
- Help Desk or End User Support
- Data and Cyber Security as a Service (SECaaS)
- Compliance Management
- Partial IT Support & Management
- Full IT Support & Management
Managed Services vs. Unmanaged Service
Now, let’s clear something up. The terms Managed Services and Outsourced Services are often used interchangeably, but there are some notable distinctions.
All managed services are a type of outsourced contract-based IT support, but not all outsourced services are managed services. Why?
Outsourced Services is an Umbrella Term.
If a third-party business is performing the service, then that service is outsourced. Plain and simple. The different types of service agreements we’ll be exploring are Managed and Unmanaged service agreements. Let’s distinguish the two by using an example.
Say you want to hire Jaydien to oversee your backups. Under a Managed Services agreement, we would take full ownership of everything related to your backups. The backing up of the data, the testing of the backups, the recovery of any deleted files, etc. Your business would be charged a pre-agreed upon flat monthly fee based on the number of assets, the type of assets, and the type(s) of service(s) we would be performing. Once an agreement is reached, we assume full responsibility for the assets and services included in the terms of the agreement.
Under Unmanaged Services models, we would not take full ownership. Your business, using the same example, would hire Jaydien to backup your files, and you would be charged on a per-hour basis. We’ve completed the work, you’ve paid us, and some time later a file is accidentally deleted. If you need us to recover it, you would be charged separately. Basically, you tell us what you want, we get it done, and you’re charged for it. We do not take ownership, and our services and work are reactive, rather than proactive. All unmanaged services models are pay-as-you-go.
Now let’s take a look at some popular unmanaged support options.
Unmanaged Services Models
Block of Time Agreements:
You have the option of buying your service hours “pre-need”, and at a significantly discounted rate with a Block of Time (BoT) agreement. Jaydien, like many other outsourced IT companies, offers multiple BoT levels based on the size of the block you need (number of hours). The larger the block, the bigger the discount. These are not contract-based IT support services and they do not automatically renew.
If you have time left in your block once the service is complete, you keep it. The time never expires. You paid for it, it’s yours, use it for any service you’d like us to perform in the future.
We heavily incentivize BoT agreements, so purchasing a block rather than opting to be invoiced after the job is complete comes with a lot of advantages. I’ve already mentioned the discount on our hourly rate, but under BoT agreements we also offer our customers guaranteed response times, after hours and weekend support, access to an online portal with information on how much time you have left in your block, and detailed notes from our technicians on how every minute of your block was used, and what service(s) were performed.
Also referred to as a “time and materials” or “as-needed” services. This is the easiest service model to explain, because there really isn’t much to explain.
You wait until something goes wrong, then you call us, and we fix it. None of the services we’ll perform will be proactive, there is no regular maintenance involved, and no agreements are in place.
There are some notable disadvantages to address when it comes to the break/fix model. Downtime, for starters, is a huge concern. Under a break/fix model, there are no guarantees, so budgeting for IT costs isn’t possible. You’re only reaching out to your IT support company after something’s gone wrong, then you’re left with far fewer options as a result. You may end up needing the service performed ASAP, which could come at a premium.
And being that you’re only interfacing with your support partner when there’s an emergency, they may be far less familiar with you and your business. Familiarity is a huge part of what we offer here at Jaydien. Our customers expect us to know more about their networks than they do.
Businesses that opt for break/fix models are typically smaller, often operate out of home-offices, and don’t have as much of a need for IT support. Smaller construction companies and landscaping companies, for example, don’t often have much IT overhead.
But even if you decide this is the best model for your business, you’ll still want a reliable outsourced IT company you can call when disaster strikes.
Managed Services Models
As mentioned above, there are a number of different managed, contract-based IT support services that a business could outsource. Many of them focus on specific sectors of tech or address industry-specific tech needs, like managed backup services or managed healthcare compliance services.
But for the purposes of this blog, we’re going to focus on managed service agreements that offer small and medium sized businesses full IT support.
Our managed services contract is an all-in-one support agreement that optimizes and maintains all of the devices in your network. It provides you with all of the fundamental productivity and security software you’ll need and includes unlimited tech support.
Under this model, your business pays a flat monthly fee based on the number of servers and workstations we’ll be maintaining, the different software we’ll be providing, and the number of user licenses you’ll need for each software.
The price can fluctuate significantly based on the size and type of business, but the point of an all-you-can-eat contract is to make sure you have everything you need. We become your dedicated IT department.
O365 licenses, hosted email, enterprise grade antivirus, cloud backup software, patch management: they’re all included. Unlimited on-site and remote service is also included, so you’ll never have to worry about being charged more if your employees call for tech support often.
You’ll also get proactive hardware health monitoring. Under this model, our technicians will be involved with your network on a daily basis, so we’ll be able to see trends develop, which will allow us to diagnose problems more quickly. This means our technicians will be able to tell you when it’s time to replace something, rather than waiting until it breaks.
Managed, contract-based IT support agreements allow businesses to effortlessly forecast and budget for IT costs, while maximizing their investment and minimizing downtime.
They aren’t for everyone, but if IT support is something your business relies on daily, then this may be the best option for you.
Are You Ready For Contract-Based IT Support?
Whether you’re looking for robust, automated backup software, or you want to learn more about managed support contracts, Jaydien Network Solutions is here to help! If you need assistance with or have general questions about service options, contact our team today!
We have the tech know-how you need to take your work to the next level! Whether you’re looking for wireless solutions or setting up a business phone system, we have the tools and expertise to help you get started! Reach out today and let us make IT work for you!
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